Eugene Jancourt

Louis Marie Eugene Jancourt (1815-1901) was a pupil of the renowned bassoon teacher and composer, F. R. Gebauer. When in his youth he started studying with Gebauer, Jancourt's instrument was so bad that Gebauer presented him with one of his own. Jancourt studied at the Paris Conservatoire, where he later taught himself. He became principal bassoon of the Italian Opera in Paris. In 1848, he was appointed to the faculty of the Brussels Conservatoire, but after only eight months returned to Paris to serve as principal bassoon in several of the many opera orchestras. There was one other period in his life when he left his beloved Paris for a longer period - from 1866 to 1869, he lived in Italy where he served as principal in several opera orchestras.Jancourt was a prolific composer. The number of works he wrote is tremendous. Most of them are concert pieces that are very beautiful and still a joy to perform. As a teacher, few bassoonists have acquired the fame of Jancourt. He wrote one of the most extensive bassoon tutors ever compiled. It was written at the instigation of Daniel Auber, Director of the Paris Conservatoire. Jancourt has also compiled fingering charts for the various types of French bassoon then in use. Jancourt became a member of the Societe des Concerts, and was appointed a Captain of music in the fifth subdivision of the Garde Nationale. He was an adviser to several of the leading Paris bassoon makers, and Jancourt's ideas and proposals contributed considerably to the successful development of the Buffet-type bassoon. Even though solo works were written for the bassoon prior to the 1840's, it was not yet regarded and perceived as a solo virtuosic instrument. Most of the bassoonists who tried to change it into a "solo" instrument gave up the idea due to its imperfections. But Jancourt understood the potential of the bassoon as a solo instrument and tried to perform in public at every opportunity.